American & US Airways Proposed Merger And Frequent Flier Programs

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American Airlines & US Airways are currently in the process of getting the US government approval for the proposed merger and this is expected to come through sometime in the late autumn.

american-airlines-us-airways

Yesterday, LoyaltyLobby reader left the following question about the miles and status he/she has with both programs.

american-airlines-us-airways-question

Here’s my prediction what is going to happen with these programs based on what happened with Northwest & Delta and later with Continental & United.

American Airlines is the “surviving” brand and the AAdvantage is going to be the program going forward. This we know for sure as it has been communicated by the airlines in question.

Likely time line:

– Few months after the merger has been approved, you can link your American Airlines AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles accounts, transfer miles between them and have matching status with each one of them. This should happen by the end of 2013.

– It took United & Continental more than a year before the frequent flier accounts were merged to one. It is likely that American and US would do this in late 2014 or early 2015.

– The miles from linked accounts are merged and the elite qualifying miles are added up.

– It is unclear how American will handle the miles coming from the US’ program and how they will calculate them towards the million miles program. Does US count lifetime miles?

– After the merger is approved, US Airways and Star Alliance will announce a time line for the airline to be removed from the alliance. Usually this is at least 6 months and with the recent TAM announcement about 12 months.

Conclusion

All the miles and status will be safe during and after the merger. As the American’s program is the surviving one, the lifetime program is safe. Of course, there can be changes to the Gold or Platinum benefits at later date that are the benefits of the one or two million miler status.

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